These devices, able to connect to the home television to provide access to the home Internet network, can be complicated for some consumers, so let’s see together details and features.
First of all, what is a smart TV box? Less technologically skilled users may find it difficult to frame this type of product, so it is necessary to clarify. You will surely know that “smart” televisions have been available on the market for several years.
Like smartphones and many other devices today, these can be connected to the home Internet network, either via LAN cable or via Wi-Fi, to access typical web content.
TV has become a recipient of the usual programming offered by classic channels and platforms born and developed on the Internet, such as Youtube, Netflix, and many others.
Although they have become trendy, not everyone has opted to purchase a smart TV, partly because the price was still a bit too high until recently because they didn’t feel the need to keep up with the times.
So how to do today if you have a classic TV at home and want to access new possibilities without spending hundreds of euros? The solution comes thanks to smart TV boxes, small devices that allow you to manage it just as if it were “smart” by connecting to the TV.
How does a smart TV box work?
Generally, these are small square or rectangular devices, just like a miniature DVD or Blu-Ray player. This device must first be connected to your TV using an HDMI cable – those with SCART or VGA outputs are rarer – and then it must necessarily be connected to the Internet. There are two ways to make this: LAN cable or wireless connection.
By doing so, when you turn on the TV, you can move to the HDMI source of the smart TV box and access all the options that this provides and which we will see in detail in the next paragraph.
How to choose a smart TV box
Buying the best-selling smart TV box on the market may prove to be a viable option for some, but successful ones aren’t always the best. Much depends on the use you intend to make of it. For example, if your only desire is to use Netflix since most products are app compatible, you can choose a cheap smart TV box to save money.
If, on the other hand, you are a user with more than one subscription to streaming on-demand services, you should carefully evaluate which device to buy, mainly taking into account the level of compatibility with the apps you usually use, clearly expressed in the product datasheets.
To this, factors are added to others, such as the hardware analysis, a detail that should not underestimate as it guarantees the functioning of the same.
If we consider a smart TV box with little RAM, for example, you could run into crash problems or slowdowns in the navigation menu. This will make the experience very frustrating, even if you want to visit a website using the internal browser.
The minimum value to evaluate for optimal experiences is 2 GB of RAM, even better if higher. As for storage space, it could be important for those who save video and audio files inside the smart TV box itself to immediately access movies, TV series, and other multimedia content while offline.
Typically, cheaper products have little space to accommodate applications only. So always keep an eye on the amount of storage memory if you have special needs.
Also not to be forgotten are the USB ports. If you want to surf the Internet comfortably seated on the sofa, you will soon discover that the classic remote control is not a suitable option. Instead, users typically plug-in keyboards, mice, or combination products to make that experience smoother and more immediate, but there must be at least one USB port.
With two, you can also add external storage media, such as SSD or HDD, thus increasing the device’s overall storage space.
Use a smart TV box
After making the basic connections to get the device active, turn it on and change the channel to the relevant HDMI source. At this point, you will find the start screen, which will ask you for some basic information about the operation of the product.
If you are using a Wi-Fi connection, the most important thing is to search for your network among those listed and enter the password to allow the TV box to access the Internet. If you don’t know your connection name or password, you can find all the sticker information under your home modem/router.
Once this initial operation is completed, you will have access to the menu, which generally differs according to the product purchased. In most cases, TV boxes use Android software, so it won’t be much different from what you might find on your smartphone.
To access the Google Play Store and thus download other applications in addition to the basic installed ones, you will need a Gmail account, which you can create for free on the Google portal. This is a setup that takes very little time, and you will then be immediately ready to exploit your TV box’s full potential.
Finally, remember that to enjoy high-resolution content, such as those in Ultra HD or 4K available on Netflix and the like, you will need a TV that supports this technology. The smart TV box will not be enough to improve the content’s quality on the screen.
Product prices and availability are subject to change. Any price and availablility information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of any products.